ID insect, small fellow with strange harvesting habits.

Taking a walk around a hot spring in the Suratthani province of Thailand I noticed something peculiar on a branch, it was a cone like thing, about 4 millimeters high, wobbling it’s way up and down. On closer inspection I could barely see an insect under a pile of white fibers. I presume the insect was collecting the fibers from the branch, this particular tree having fuzzy, silvery leaves covered in very fine fibers that extended down the smallest branches.

Here are a couple picture I took of the bug in question. Well, unfortunately what we can see of the insect is very little, but the “haystack” on top of it is remarkable. The pile itself must had been about 3mm high and the insect bellow no more than a couple millimeters long.

I’m baffled by this little harvesting insect; to begin with why is it collecting fibers like that and how come they appear to be bleached?

Any resident entomologist would like to give this one a swing and clarify the mystery?

The insect itself is some form of lacewing larva.

It is collecting the fibres (trichomes) in order to build a shell to protect itself. Primarily to protect itself from ants. Lacewings eat aphids and mealy bugs, ants protect aphids and mealy bugs by killing their predators. So lacewings make ant proof shelters for themselves.

Why are the fibres so bleached? No idea. I would say that it cleans them before attaching them to the shelter, but that’s a SWAG.

Love it! That’s another one of those “ain’t nature amazing”/“it must be intelligent design” things. Like those ants on that one David Attenborough documentary, that sew a garage out of leaves for a caterpillar to spend the night in.

SWAG? Seriously/Superfluous/Systematic Wild Ass Guess? :stuck_out_tongue:

It seems to be that sort of bug, I found some other examples but I have to say that these other guys look definitely mangy and unkempt compared with my well coiffered, Don King-esque specimen.


And yes, your specimen is the most well manicured I’ve ever seen.